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‘Marcel The Shell With Shoes On’ is Truly Delightful (Review)

Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate’s online phenomenon of Marcel The Shell earns his first big screen adventure in ‘Marcel The Shell With Shoes On.’

A24’s first foray into family films is a feature-length adaptation of the short films that the former couple posted on YouTube over a decade ago. In the years since, the duo fell in love, got married, got divorced, and still managed to make this truly delightful film together.

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (the original YouTube video)

Marcel’s Big Screen Adventure

Marcel (voiced by Slate) is not a snail – he’s a walking and talking (and often rolling) seashell with one googly eye.

His family gets whisked away into a suitcase during a fight between the humans in the house where they lived. Now, Marcel and his grandmother Connie (voiced by the legendary Isabella Rossellini) are all that’s left. Their house is now being rented out as an Airbnb.

And so begins Marcel’s new adventure.

Marcel and his grandmother, Connie. (A24)

Dean rents the house after splitting up with his wife (how very meta). He discovers Marcel and begins to document his life online. It kickstarts a plan to help Marcel find his family, which lands them both on ’60 Minutes.’

The most wonderful thing about this film is that every moment is so seriously presented. You never question Marcel’s life or motivation. You believe this depressed filmmaker would want to be distracted from his problems to help a tiny talking shell find his family. Your heart soars when Leslie Stahl and her television crew show up to spread the word.

It’s simply one of the most charming things I’ve ever seen.

It’s exciting and well-suited for kids, but wildly clever and funny enough for adults. It is surprising for the studio behind “Midsommar” and “Uncut Gems” to jump into the family market, but they have succeeded in spades.

Where to Watch

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On‘ is playing now in New York and Los Angeles. It expands this weekend into Austin, San Francisco, Chicago, D.C., and Boston. By July 15, it will be in theaters nationwide. A24 films head to Showtime after their initial home video release, so expect it to stream there later this year.

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